Thursday, December 10, 2015

Christmas Letter 2015

A few blocks from our house, there is a small neighborhood park. It is a quiet, attractive green space, with old trees, a historic house, playground equipment for children, and a space laid out for softball games.

Like most urban parks, it had suffered over the years from neglect and lack of funding. The playground area had become unsafe and unattractive, and there was no money to rebuild it. The sidewalks needed repairs. There were not enough light fixtures, and many were missing or broken.

For the past four years, a small group of supporters, including our family, has worked to revitalize the park and make it the community treasure that we believed it could be.

This year the city and two local non-profit groups chose our park as one of six to receive makeovers. When the park reopened this fall, the sidewalks were repaired, the playground was renewed, and, most important, the lighting was abundant and beautiful. It was a gift to the community. It would not have happened without the work of our group and the help of many people and agencies.

In a world beset by climate change, wars, terrorism, economic recession, and poisonous politics, giving a small park new life seems like a small victory—but it is not. Urban parks lift a community’s spirits, improve its health, and spark changes that benefit all the park’s neighbors and the earth itself.

So it is with many changes for the better. They begin with small victories, achieved because ordinary people took the first step and dedicated themselves to the task before them. We cannot know how our work will end, but we can know that it is right for us to do it. And, with good fortune and help from many hands, we can build a better future.

May all your good works prosper in the year to come, and may they be fruitful beyond your hopes and your expectations.